Three things about China and the Olympics / Why Beijing Winter Olympics Face Threat[s]

Friday, August 20, 2021

Victims of sexist remarks in her own country: Gong Lijiao.

Three Things You Do Not Know About China and the Olympics*

Liu Mengyao

The Tokyo Olympics ended last Sunday. Nationalist Chinese netizens had expected for China to “win the Olympics” and get more medals, or at least, more gold medals than the United States. This did not happen, and nationalist Olympic statistics disappeared from Chinese social networks all of a sudden.

International media covered the case of two Chinese athletes who exhibited Chairman Mao pins during the medal ceremony. They were not punished by the International Olympic Committee, which however clarified that this should not be done again.

Other incidents were less covered internationally, but are perhaps more interesting.

[1] The first concerns Hong Kong, which competed as a separate territory and whose athletes obtained exceptionally good results, scoring six medals, including one gold (perhaps without pleasing Bitter Winter’s Italian editors, Edgar Cheung Ka-Long defeated the Italian favorite to win men’s individual foil). This created a problem, as Chinese law now mandates that the Chinese national anthem should be played in all ceremonies for Hong Kong. This was duly done for the fencing’s winner, but was not well received by Hong Kong netizens, who posted doctored videos where the Chinese anthem was replaced by “Glory to Hong Kong,” an old hymn that has been prohibited by the CCP in 2020. One of these videos quickly gathered 200,000 views. An investigation for “separatism” was launched, and those who doctored the videos risk heavy jail sentences.

The CCP decided that a closer look at Hong Kong athletes was needed. Badminton star Angus Ng Ka-Long was publicly attacked for wearing a black shirt reminiscent of the color of Hong Kong pro-democracy protests, and for not displaying the prescribed emblem. He had to apologize, and to explain his shirt with a problem of sponsors.

[2] The second incident concerned Chinese female athlete Gong   Lijiao, who won the shot put in Tokyo. The CCP television CCTV interviewed her. The interviewer called her a “masculine woman,” and suggested that perhaps she is not married because men are scared of her strength and appearance. Gong answered humorously that she is really a sweet girl even if she may not look like one, but many netizens protested against CCTV, noting that sexist stereotypes still dominate the official television.


Ambassador Qin’s tweet: too kind for some Chinese netizens.

[3] The third incident concerns Qin Gang, China’s new ambassador to the U.S. On August 8, Qin tweeted his congratulations to Team USA for being first in the medal tally (and to Chinese athletes for their results). This was a wise move from a newly appointed ambassador. But not enough “wolf-warrior-style” for many Chinese netizens. Twitter is blocked in China, but Qin’s tweet found its way to local social media, where Chinese nationalist netizens accustomed to hail the wolf warriors expressed their displeasure and attacked the United States.

Olympics should be about fairness, friendship, and peace. ...

* Repression of athletes from Hong Kong, sexist offenses against a gold medalist, and criticism of a Chinese ambassador who tried to be kinder than usual.



Why the Beijing Winter Olympics Face Threat of Boycotts, Political Pressure

Bloomberg News
August 18, 2021

When China hosted its first Olympics in 2008, U.S. President George W. Bush was among more than 80 heads of state in attendance in Beijing. Fourteen years later, the 2022 Winter Games are set to open in the same city but a different world, one wracked by a pandemic and one where a more-powerful China finds itself increasingly at odds with the U.S. and other democracies. Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for the games to be “simple, safe and splendid,” a challenge as Covid-19 cases mount globally along with international criticism of China’s record on human rights and other issues.

1. When are the games and where?

The games will run from Feb. 4-20, with the opening ceremony scheduled Feb. 4 at Beijing National Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest. Beijing -- the first city to host both a summer and winter games -- will reuse some of the 2008 venues for ice events. The suburb of Yanqing, home to part of the Great Wall, and the city of Zhangjiakou in neighboring Hebei province, will host events such as alpine skiing, snowboarding, cross country and ski jumping. Built for the games, a new high-speed rail line cuts travel time from the ski areas to Beijing to about 45 minutes.

 5. Will anyone boycott?

Human rights groups have long called for a full-blown boycott of the events as a protest against China’s alleged mistreatment of ethnic Uyghurs, Tibetans and other minority groups, its national security crackdown on Hong Kong and other issues. Some members of the U.S. Congress have also urged pulling out, a sign of growing bipartisan anger. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in May called for a diplomatic boycott -- not sending an official delegation -- while still allowing athletes to go and compete. U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said he’s unlikely to attend but didn’t support withdrawing athletes. An August poll of 1,000 Canadians found 45% of respondents said they would support a boycott of the Beijing Games in response to China’s detention of two Canadians, thought to be retaliation for Canada’s arrest of a Huawei executive.


Two previous ChinaAid posts relating to China and the Olympics:

Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; 
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
                                                             ~ Isaiah 5:20 (NKJV) 

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